Boatwif Blog

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Hello Pumpernickel

As a school child October meant being back in school, with summer holidays a fading memory and the daily homework load increasing… As a student each October entailed new accommodation, cooler days, light dwindling by late afternoon, evenings spent on assignments… As a parent by October routines had become established: children’s uniform ready for the morning, dinner money in envelopes, reading logs checked, spellings tested… As a teacher by October the new timetable had been established, pupils’ names learned, the...

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 The last stretch ‘home’

Ramsdell Hall Railings, Macclesfield Canal to Victoria Pit Moorings, Higher Poynton It’s happened before in September, a Cleddau crew member waking up at Ramsdell Hall railings on a birthday.  This time it was the Captain’s b’day. There were a few birthday cards on board and a mail drop at Macclesfield a day or so later.   See this too: Techno Son-in-Law had a surfeit of biodegradable party streamers, this being the result of a synchronised shoot out…! After a short...

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The clock rounded

Stanthorne Lock, Middlewich to Ramsdell Hall Railings, Macclesfield Canal So, made it – completed the Ring, the Four Counties Ring that is, reaching Hardings Wood Junction just after midday on Wednesday 23rd September, 17 days after leaving it to head south in a clockwise direction… If the map of the Four Counties Ring were a circle (which it blatantly isn’t) and if the Ring were a clock face (not that either!) then 14 days after leaving Hardings Wood Junction Cleddau...

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A little bit of a triumph

Norbury Junction (Shropshire Union) to Stanthorne Lock (Middlewich Arm) “TRIUMPH!” That was the word a stranger addressed across a lock the other evening. Boatwif was “gongoozling” at Hurleston Junction locks, the 4 locks that lead off the Shropshire Union Canal up onto the Llangollen Canal. Cleddau was moored nearby, on the main line, but a short stroll brought her to the base of the locks. There was a queue as three boats were gradually making their way up. Between the...

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Clocking up the miles on a clockwise route

Tixall Wide (Staffs and Worcs Canal) to Norbury Junction (Shropshire Union) Up! Up! Up! The Staffs and Worcs climbs steadily by 12 locks from Tixall Lock (east of Stafford)   along about 11 miles to the summit at Gailey.  Initially it is the railway line that shadows the canal     – and then the railway crosses the canal and swings north. …. Soon though the sound of road traffic from the M6 becomes a background sound. Some of the locks...

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Tunnels, tracks and TEs*

Red Bull Aqueduct, Kidsgrove to Tixall Wide, Staffordshire TEs* Towpath Encounters Monday, 7th September. To head south from the Macclesfield Canal entails joining the Trent and Mersey Canal at Hardings Wood Junction, weaving a route under the main West Coast railway line at Kidsgrove  – and joining a boat queue at the north end portal of Harecastle Tunnel. As is often the case weather conditions north of the Harecastle Tunnel differed from those south of the tunnel. Hence, rain at...

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Surprises

Macclesfield Canal: Victoria Pit at Higher Poynton to Red Bull Aqueduct Surprises tend to come in one of two forms – nice or nasty. A nasty surprise which curtailed Boatwif’s ‘Back to Boating’ trip in July was a broken wrist… seven weeks on another Back to Boating attempt is under way. Determined to mix recovery with practicalities and a birthday celebration the Cleddau crew returned to Cheshire, moved back on board and enjoyed a delightful Sunday Bank Holiday stroll from...

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Rocking on …

Routines during the past months have been largely repetitive (and we all know why), so when something new or different is seen curiosity is aroused. It was while passing Kerridge on the Macclesfield Canal (13th August) that cranes and earthworks on the ridge line were sighted.     More quarrying? (Kerridge quarries have long been supplying stone).  But no. Apparently United Utilities is building another reservoir as a back-up facility for the existing service reservoir. On the previous boat trip the...

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While plastered…

In mid-July Boatwif’s fractured right wrist brought Cleddau-cruising to an abrupt halt. Incarcerated back in Bedfordshire in a self-inflicted lockdown Boatwif and the Captain reverted to gentle local walks. Crops had continued to grow,     some had been harvested   and hay bales were on the move…     A new footbridge now connects two local paths,     a plant beside the church’s north porch has sprouted eye-catching colour   while up in Kempston Wood the undergrowth has fallen flat,...

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High Cirrus over the High Peak

Permission to visit and stay overnight on boats took effect from 4th July. For months the large blue IKEA bags (handy for transferring stuff from house to car boot and through narrow hatches and doorways onto a boat) had been lurking at home, awaiting onward transportation… And what mixed bags they were – bedding, a repainted flagpole for the stern, foodstuffs, walking boots, waterproofs, electrical paraphernalia,    2 Turks’ head knots for tiller decoration and    a customised companion set...